Sam Bootle

Lecturer in French, Durham University (UK)

Dr Sam Bootle works on nineteenth-century French literature, and particularly on questions of exoticism, transnationalism and cross-cultural reception. He is a Lecturer in French at Durham University, UK. At present, he is finishing a monograph about the late-nineteenth-century poet Jules Laforgue and his encounter with the thought of Arthur Schopenhauer and Eduard von Hartmann, entitled "Jules Laforgue and German Philosophy: Ideas of Otherness". He recently co-edited a Special Issue of "Dix-Neuf", the journal of the Society of Dix-Neuviémistes, on Jules Laforgue.

Encounters with Nothingness: Buddhism in Nineteenth-Century French Literature

When Buddhism was first studied in Europe in the nineteenth century, it was widely portrayed as a religion that worshipped the void. French writers such as Gustave Flaubert, Charles Marie René Leconte de Lisle and Henri-Frédéric Amiel were fascinated by this apparently nihilistic faith, and their work stages French culture’s reception of Buddhism, representing and performing the fear, fascination, and bemusement with which it was greeted. Buddhist ideas were, moreover, crucial to nineteenth-century French literature’s challenge to the stable lyrical self and fixed aesthetic ideals.

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